Middlebury College professor talks new book "Whistleblowers"

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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) A Vermont professor is making waves across the country after the release of her new book “Whistleblowers.”

Allison Stanger, a political and economics professor at Middlebury College, coincidentally launched “Whistleblowers” on the same day the U.S. House of Representatives announced a formal impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump. An anonymous government employee reported that President Trump withheld nearly $400 million in military aid from Ukraine before pressuring Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former Vice President and 2020 Democratic front-runner Joe Biden.

Stanger describes “Whistleblowers” as an episodic history of whistleblowing in the U.S from the Revolutionary War era right through to the present. And it argues that the Intelligence Committee is blowing the whistle on Donald Trump for failing to preserve, defend and protect the Constitution of the United States,” said Stanger. “In a sense, this whistleblower complaint is just the tip of the iceberg. It’s been going on for quite some time, ever since Trump was elected.”

“Whistleblowers” starts with the story Esek Hopkins, the first commodore in the U.S. Navy.

“He did a lot of horrible things. He was a corrupt individual who was involved in the slave trade,” Stanger told WCAX News. “He not only tortured British prisoners of war, he also was defying Congress and General Washington about where to engage the British during the Revolutionary War. Washington would tell him, ‘I want you to engage the British in Chesapeake Bay,’ and he would instead take the U.S. Navy down to the Bahamas because that served his economic interests which were very much wrapped up in the slave trade.”

The book ends with what Stanger calls “the dishonesty of Donald Trump.” During a sit-down talk with WCAX News, Stanger said the whistleblower complaint against President Trump reveals a serious threat to national security.

“The whistleblower complaint reveals this cover-up of what you might say the Intelligence Committee sees as a double-fold national security threat. On one hand, the president is running a rogue foreign policy where [Rudy] Giuliani and [William] Barr are pursuing a foreign policy that’s directly at odds with the official policy of the State Department and Congress because they appropriate the funds for military aid to Ukraine,” she said.

She also told WCAX she thinks the complaint is evidence of President Trump using his office for personal gain and “to serve his own interests of being reelected.”

“He’s not serving the American people which is what we elected him to do,” Stanger said. “There’s a pattern going on since he was elected which the Intelligence Committee doing unprecedented things. They don’t leak like this. They’re very rule-bound creatures. But they’re doing it because they see a very real threat to the national security of the United States and to our democracy.”

Stanger also talked about the repercussions of whistleblowing. She says most whistleblowers face a plethora of punishment and social ostracism.

“Their lives are destroyed. They lose their jobs. It never turns out well for them so it’s a very selfless act to blow the whistle and we need to keep that in mind and be sure this whistleblower is protected and safe,” she said. “Whistleblower after whistleblower suffers. This is not something one does lightly. One pays an enormous price, so in a sense, this whistleblower has sacrificed for us, the American people, and for the sake of our democracy and we should be grateful.”

Stanger believes whistleblowing is heroic, and a bipartisan, American duty necessary to keep our nation’s elites honest and our democracy intact.

“What this whistleblower is doing currently with Donald Trump is upholding the values of the American Constitution, the rule of the law, in the spirit of ideals. So he’s patriotic. He or she is patriotic and very courageous for coming forward with the complaint,” said Stanger.

Stanger worked on “Whistleblowers” for seven years and interviewed National Security Agency whistleblowers, including Edward Snowden.